Commentary: Sane WritersWhat a Novel Idea!
By Ramon Presson, Columnist
Ever notice that everyone in Williamson County is either a musician or an author?
It may not be their full-time or paying job but everybody in this town is into either music or writing in some way. In fact, if you haven’t published a book or recorded an album, or are not in the process of doing so, you probably wandered into the wrong community by mistake. Or perhaps you’re an undocumented resident who has slipped over the county border and is working as a waiter in Cool Springs with no musical talent whatsoever. People like you are stealing jobs from musicians who are trying to put gas in their cars and sushi on their table while they play open-mic nights hoping to be discovered.
But it’s not just music. You can’t throw a laptop anywhere in this town without hitting a least one published author or aspiring novelist in the head. I did, however, meet a non-blogger working the cash register at Mapco the other day. There are rare exceptions.
November is National Novel Writing Month (see www.nanowrimo.org). The goal is to write 1,500 words toward a 50,000 novel in 30 days. I know, some of you are gasping, “A complete novel in 30 days! It takes me six weeks just to write the 1-page family Christmas letter every year!” Relax, I understand. Some of you have slow readers in your family, so you have to write slowly so they can keep up.
The NaNoWriMo project started in 1999 with just 21 participants and has grown to over 300,000 amateur writers this year striving to write a bestseller in one month. I would like to write a novel one-day. I’m always getting great ideas for novels. For example, the two hottest trends in romance literature are the Vampire romance novel and the Amish romance novel (although “Amish romance” sounds like an oxymoron to me). I’m going to combine the two into a new genre that can’t miss: the Amish Vampire Romance novel. Set in Lancaster, Pennsylvania the story begins at the family table when Ned says to his father, “Pa, does the plough horse’s teeth look strange to you?”
Anyway, back to the 300,000 aspiring novelists this month…I have to imagine there are a lot of writers who are glad that November is coming to a close, along with friends and family weary of hearing daily about the literary progress (or lack thereof) of their increasingly neurotic loved one. A writer in Thompson Station received this letter this week from her dog.
Only 8 more days till NaNoWriMo is NoMo, thank God! Maybe then you’ll remember to let me outside, although I don’t have to relieve myself as often now since you are too busy to feed me and too preoccupied with your word count to put water in my dish.
There’s not enough sand in Maui to cover all that’s in the cat’s litter box; and while you have been in a trance pecking away at your keyboard, Mr. Hairball has been using the legs of the new dining room table as a scratching post.
If you don’t finish your novel in the next few days, perhaps you can just blow off December’s holiday nonsense and focus on plot development for your historical sci-fi Western romance crime thriller. I’m sure your children won’t mind that the foodless house is without Christmas decorations and that there are no wrapped presents where the tree would normally be. It’s probably character building for preschoolers to learn how to wash their own clothes and beg the neighbors for a ride to day care.
As for your husband, I wouldn’t worry about him. He left you last week for that new girl in accounting, who hates to read and has no creative juice in her veins. I think they’re in Maui.
Your Withered Dog,
Author and therapist, Dr. Ramon Presson, is the founder of LifeChange Counseling and the Marriage Center of Franklin, TN. www.LifeChangeCS.org He can be reached at
Posted on: 11/28/2013